Where is the excitement and buzz for the Android Market?

Where is the excitement and buzz for the Android Market?

Summary: I pop my T-Mobile SIM card into my T-Mobile G1 about once a week to see if there is anything interesting going on in the Android Market and I have to say there is not much that really excites me after almost 6 months of using the device. One of the reasons I purchased my G1 was because of the speculation and hype that the "open" nature of the Android OS would have developers churning out applications and taking the device to the next level. There were some excellent free applications available at or soon after launch, such as ShopSavvy, imeem Music, Bonsai Blast, PacMan, and The Weather Channel with the hope that priced applications would bring even more goodness to the platform. I personally have a few reasons that I have been hesitant to purchase applications from the Android Market and am curious if other G1 owners feel the same.

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TOPICS: Apps, Hardware, Mobility
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I pop my T-Mobile SIM card into my T-Mobile G1 about once a week to see if there is anything interesting going on in the Android Market and I have to say there is not much that really excites me after almost 6 months of using the device. One of the reasons I purchased my G1 was because of the speculation and hype that the "open" nature of the Android OS would have developers churning out applications and taking the device to the next level. There were some excellent free applications available at or soon after launch, such as ShopSavvy, imeem Music, Bonsai Blast, PacMan, and The Weather Channel with the hope that priced applications would bring even more goodness to the platform. I personally have a few reasons that I have been hesitant to purchase applications from the Android Market and am curious if other G1 owners feel the same.

The only priced application I have purchased so far is TouchDown and this application has regularly been updated and is well worth the money if you need to connect to an Exchange server. I did also try out the TeleNav GPS Navigator software and think that is also worth the $10/month subscription if you are looking for a VERY GOOD GPS navigation solution. The three main reasons I have been hesitant to purchase anything else are as follows:

  1. Memory management: With something like 35 third party apps loaded on my G1, I am constantly getting low memory warnings and having to delete apps to make room to try out more. I understand there is an involved hack that lets you store apps on the microSD card, but I don't feel I should have to hack my device to use it the way it was intended. You should be able to load up apps to your heart's content and really have fun with the platform and device.
  2. Lack of quality priced apps: I honestly have some very good FREE applications on my G1 that meet most all my needs, including Opera Mini, Twidroid, CadreBible, PhoneFlix, ShopSavvy, Toggle Settings, imeem Mobile, Shazam, and Bonsai Blast. I browse through the priced apps and can't find any Office suites, really good Facebook apps, ebook readers, or amazing games that compel me to purchase them. The Android Developer Challenge winners page showed some cool apps and thankfully many of them are available for free. Where is ShapeWriter though?
  3. Lack of desktop or web client: I think one aspect of the Apple App Store that makes application discovery a better experience is the fact that you can browse from your computer in iTunes and find apps you want to try out. There is also a sense, at least for me, that my apps are safely stored on my Mac in case I take them off of my device. I haven't yet made the leap to making purchase on my G1 in the Android Market and then relying on their server to remember what I purchased. I switch phones quite a bit too and am curious if I can transfer my purchases to a new phone in the future. With the iPhone I know I can put the apps I purchase on 5 devices and can probably work with customer service to reset that if I went crazy and upgraded more than that.

What are your thoughts on the Android Market? Is it going to take more devices than just the G1 on T-Mobile to get developers to launch some high quality priced applications? Are there good priced apps out there that I am just not finding because that could be the case with an on device store and limited filters?

UPDATE: A reader let me know that you can actually browse the Android Market on the Android.com website. This is extremely helpful for me since I can now check out apps on my computer and then just search and find them on my G1 to download and try out.

Topics: Apps, Hardware, Mobility

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12 comments
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  • The reason

    The reason maybe that Google is not consumer
    oriented as Apple. They are more developer
    oriented. No matter what, browsing in the
    AppStore is a fun experience than the plain web
    site for Android Market.

    Google has done things neatly and simple with
    Gmail compared to Yahoo mail (which is funky).
    But still many home users I know prefer the
    "fun" look of Yahoo! mail. With Android, I
    think they have to change their marketing
    paradigms a bit.
    ravinsp
    • Yes and no...

      They have a ton of nifty code samples, and APIs that 3rd party devs can use. To that extent, you are dead right that GOOG is more dev-oriented. But this is not true for their Android SDK -- the download is huge, the kit is clunky, the licensing -- well, let's just say with all these factors, I, as a developer, took a look and said "thanks, but I'll pass...."
      Techboy_z
  • Wheres the excitement and buzz for the App Store?

    If you don't use an Iphone and don't use Itunes theres no buzz for it either. So I'm not sure if you are talking about outsider buzz or insider buzz.

    If you are talking about insider and didn't find anything interesting then I guess you just don't want to. It also depends on what you consider high quality. Does that mean it looks pretty or that it functions well? In addition why are you looking for good "priced apps"? Do you expect these to automatically be better in quality than the free ones? Do you even know what it is you want out of your phone or do you just want to find something to buy? I find quite a bit of useful apps myself. StreamFurious, SkyMap, Steel, TuneWiki, Weatherbug, Pkt Auctions Ebay, Scoreboard, Pictorial and more....are all nice to me. Theres one out now that I haven't tried thats supposed to let you control your phone from your computer for things like adding contacts or dialing a number. I'd like to be able to highlight and dial a number from Firefox just as I can on the G1 browser.

    Then you have the things that can't be done on an IPhone like Locale or other services that run in the background and multi-task. I'm not an IPhone user so I don't know if it can be themed but I know I have never seen one. However due to the open nature of Android and the ability to replace its core appliation functionality you know how entire replacement Home or Desktop applications. Some of these allow complete re-themeing of the phone and the addition of new desktop widgets. While I believe the markets better days are still ahead of it I have not been disappointed by the first 6 months or so.

    I'm also 50/50 on browsing the App Market from the desktop. I use my G1 as a laptop replacement sometimes so I don't see why I would want to go back to the laptop to browse for something to put on my phone. If the phone can't get the job done in that aspect then something is wrong. And I believe the market is browseable online now anyway at the android.com site.
    storm14k
    • Thanks for the comment

      I didn't know about the Android.com site and ability to browse the Android Market. I will add this to my post because this helps me a lot in finding apps that I can then Search for on my G1.

      I do think there is buzz about the App Store generated by the TV commercials so even friends who don't have an iPhone are always asking me about it.

      I agree there are several excellent FREE apps on the G1, but the memory limitations still prevent me from loading as many as I would like.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • Now if you mean the marketing side of things....

        ...then I see you're point. I have questioned whether Google, HTC and T-mobile actually wanted to market the G1 at all. Its barely marketed now and the initial campaigns were nothing short of ridiculous. It seems to me from some reading as well that this was really meant as a test platform. So I imagine as the Magic launches and other phones come out the marketing will begin to ramp up.

        I haven't run into the memory problem as much for some reason. I guess I'm lucky with the right combination of apps. But they certainly should look at better specs for Android devices as well as use the SD card for memory. They have talked about supporting up to 32G (I believe thats the size) cards when they come out so why not allow some of that to be used?

        Also I believe the online app browsing is like a "Top App" type of deal. I find it easier to just go to the App Market on the phone and list them by date to see whats new. However I could see the online browsing as a tool to bring in new users. But I don't use Itunes so its really no different than the IPhone for me.

        storm14k
        • Where are the devs gone?

          I personally use cyrket everyday.
          http://www.cyrket.com/type/1

          {Should make it a point to read ALL posts before chiming in :-)}

          On the larger point, first of all, there are only so many developers. More and more of them are trying to figure out how to continue to make a living (i think). So the environment is little different from the iPhone times.

          You cannot *easily* make a living off the phone market. And charging money for an app can give you a bloody nose real quick if you are not prepared to make that your full time job. So playing as a paid app in the market is extremely stressful if you intend to have any sense of longevity there.

          We still have to see REALLY big players getting into the game. Chances are the stakes are too high for them to gamble. For the little developers, its a few months of pay, but for the big boys, its make or break. So i think we will have to wait for the millions of devices to hit the market before we can say anything. The 'street isnt helping either.
          healthitfreak
  • RE: Where is the excitement and buzz for the Android Market?

    http://www.cyrket.com/ is much better than Android Market for computer browsing.

    I'm with you on the ability to install on the SD card (and back it up - which includes paid apps). That and the quality of the free apps is the reason why I too haven't found a single app that I would pay for.
    os2baba
  • RE: Where is the excitement and buzz for the Android Market?

    @Matthew I agree with all of your points. I too, just knew the flood gates of great paid apps would come with paid apps, but that has not been the case. Many of the paid apps are subpar and have the audacity to charge anything for it.

    We run an Android app review website http://www.AndroidTapp.com and the lack of quality paid apps put a damper on our editoral schedule for a few weeks. As we wasted alot of time reviewing poor, overpriced, over hyped paid apps, that where ultimately not worth placing on the website at the time. The Market has become diluted with a sea of greed to make a quick buck from digital downloads. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, as the consumer will drive the demand for quality apps for their buck.

    Also, http://www.cyrket.com is a better alternative than the actual Android official website (but unsure how long that will last as the website violates Google's terms for accessing the Android Market).
    AndroidTapp.com
  • Nobody cares except for geeks

    Nobody really uses all these applications. Even Apple's iPhone store has lot's of app's but each user only averages one or two downloads.
    I don't think anyone but geeks even think of Android. Open source to most is hardly a household word. Apple again has cornered the market for interactive phones as it did for the iPod. Google like others has a tough road to compete with the iPhone and Blackberry. I just don't think their is enough market for these phones.
    jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
    • Agreed

      Open Source is very attractive for most of us geeks, but which normal person (a teenage girl with her friends, your mom, a taxi driver, restaurant manager...) really wants to modify the source code and redistribute it? And, which normal geek will build their own phone hardware and build the OS on it? The open nature of Android has to be part of the collaboration among companies or else Google's research failed (very rare).
      Zach S
  • "One of the reasons...

    I purchased my G1 was because of the speculation and
    hype..."

    Is this an object lesson on why not to buy something based
    on speculation and hype? You bet it is!
    levinson
  • if i have to buy a G1 to test my app. i don't think i'll be writing one. if

    i could load the OS on my own hardware and test to my hearts content without being dependent on Google and the phone company i would probably write some. just not the right developer ecosystem for an independent like me. so i hope the big boys get more interested. i'd like to see the OS evolve.

    :)

    .

    wessonjoe